Health on Hold

A look into the Teen Health Center’s coronavirus relocation.

Art+By+Nhu+Tat

Art By Nhu Tat

As online school continues, students are adjusting to the loss of many Garfield opportunities, one being the Teen Health Center, whose services have shifted to other virtual and physical locations.

Coronavirus closures have affected institutions worldwide. From schools like Garfield, to stores and entertainment venues, this respiratory disease has been threatening the lives of our population and the worldwide economy. We have seen these closures across the globe and in Garfield’s very halls, but one closure has been substantial to student health.

Many students rely on Garfield’s Teen Health Center for the various health services they provide. From sports physicals to birth control distribution and immunizations, the Teen Health Center has been assisting the Garfield community with its services for years. 

The closures from the pandemic forced the Teen Health Center to relocate from Garfield’s halls to the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic three blocks south of Garfield. 

Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, or OBCC, is an extension of Seattle Children’s hospital, aimed at providing quality pediatric care. From dental screenings to mental health support, the clinic provides many children with healthcare services. 

This switch in the environment does not alter the staff’s excitement towards working with students this year.

 “The Teen Health Center staff feel[s] excited to be able to continue offering our usual services even though it looks a little different now. We really miss seeing students at school!” Amy Anderson said, staff from the Teen Health Center.

This adjustment has been challenging for both students and staff. Birth control, flu vaccines, and any other health services are not just a walk down to the first floor for students anymore. For staff, navigating providing regular services to Garfield students during a pandemic has caused a shift in the way the Teen Health Center operates. 

“Medical and nutrition appointments are a combination of in person on some days and telemedicine on other days,” Anderson said. “Mental health appointments are all being done as telemedicine visits.”

 However isolating these closures may feel, the Teen Health Center is making an effort to provide students with stable health services. 

“We are offering all our usual services during the COVID pandemic,” Anderson said. Access to health screenings, contraceptives, mental health support, and all other Teen Health Center services are still being offered in spite of school closures. 

Accessing those services is still as easy as it was in-person. Appointments are being held in person at OBCC and online over the popular Telehealth app. Teen Health Center staff is still eager to provide Garfield students with whatever health related services they may need. 

“Students can contact us with questions or to make appointments by calling 206-987-0290 or emailing us at GarfieldTeenHealthCenter@seattlechildrens.org,” Anderson said.

However frightening and alien closures of schools and businesses seem, the Teen Health Center’s staff is still prepared to help Garfield students with whatever they may be needing. 

“We understand that coming to an appointment at a different site that is not in the school may present challenges, but we encourage students to contact us to see how we can help,” Anderson said. “We will do our best to provide help and support in this challenging time.”